I’m trying to understand what people expected from the Chakrabarti inquiry into antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism. The disappointment that surrounded the release of her inquiry has been amplified ten fold following the announcement that Chakrabarti, (and only Chakrabarti) has been placed on the honours list by Jeremy Corbyn thus making it look like a quid pro quo for her report exonerating his party of being antisemitic.
Since no Labour members of Parliament or members of Labour’s National Executive Council (NEC), prospective parliamentary candidates, Labour councillors or members have been suspended for racism or Islamophobia and since a serving MP and a member of the NEC and a whole bunch of activists from every facet of the Labour party have been suspended for being antisemitic Corbyn’s decision not to hold an inquiry into just antisemitism was pretty indicative of the way this was going to go.
The inability of the leader of the party to relate to antisemitism on its own should have been more than enough for it to be clear that the inquiry was destined to be an exercise in pointlessness but the Jewish community responded to it in good faith but this was never going to be anything other than a PR exercise. How could a man who stood up in 2009 and said;
We are opposed to Zionism and what Israel is doing towards the Palestinian people”
ever feel comfortable or even willing to hold an inquiry into antisemitism when so much of left wing antisemitism revolves around anti-Zionist activism?
The truth is that everything the Jewish community takes issue with is everything Jeremy Corbyn agrees with. He agrees that Zionists and Zionism are the problem, he has actively supported Hamas and Hezbollah for years. How could anyone think he will understand why a Zionist would take offence by being called a Zionist? Why would he think it is antisemitic to accuse Zionists of being in cahoots with ISIS?
Corbyn’s own brother retweeted a conspiracy theory about ISIS being linked to Israel and then tweeted that Zionists couldn’t cope with anyone espousing rights for Palestinians. This is another non-sequitur labour activists have made when Jews have raised legitimate complaints about antisemitism. Corbyn, their leader does the same at the now infamous meeting where he referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as friends;
“I refuse to be dragged into this stuff that somehow or other because we’re pro-Palestinian, we’re antisemitic. It’s a nonsense.”
If you look at the assertions about antisemitism by Jews and Jewish organisations you won’t find that statement anywhere. Of course if you think being pro Palestinian and being anti-Zionist are the same thing then you would think your antisemitic attacks on Jews are simply the treatment that anyone who declares themselves a Zionist deserves.
Today fresh allegations concerning antisemitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party have emerged in The London Times;
Josh Simons was a policy adviser in the Labour leader’s office when he made the submission to Chakrabarti’s inquiry into anti-semitism in the party. Simons made it clear he believed that some of Corbyn’s team, including Seumas Milne, director of strategy, had “at least a blind spot with anti-semitism and at worst a wilful disregard for it”, a friend told The Sunday Times.
The story doesn’t end there;
Simons also complained that he had been subjected to an “inquisition” by Milne about being Jewish, his family and his attitude to Israel, his friend said. Milne, Corbyn’s most senior aide, delivered a “rant” about Israel before demanding to know the young aide’s views and quizzing him on his family background in an incident that made him feel deeply uncomfortable, the friend said.
Jeremy Corbyn would be reading this article shaking his head with disgust at the efforts by (what he calls) the “mainstream media” to smear him. He wouldn’t be able to understand why a “real” Jew would feel uncomfortable about being interrogated on his connection to Israel unless he was a Zionist. If he was a Zionist he would deserve it. That’s if he bothered to think about it that much.
Corbyn has been a parliamentarian since 1983, in that time he has voted against his own party over 600 times. He has spent his career defying the very party he is a member of. He has listened to his (rather dubious) principles over the party whip for over 30 years and managed to keep his seat. Now that he’s in charge did anyone really think he was going to ignore the opportunity he has to impose his thinking on the party?
This is a man who plays the game well enough to be able to incur the wrath of successive Labour Party leaders but never to have been removed.
This is a man who knows he is right. He doesn’t need an inquiry on anything, he already knows that the corrupt British system needs to be changed, he already knows that the right wing Zionist ideology is a fascist ideology that serves the bidding of the West and he knows that he needs to purge his party of anyone who doesn’t agree with him. The inquiry was just something he was forced into because of the success the conspiracy against him was enjoying.
But in the world of Jeremy Corbyn, in a classic Stalinist way the conclusion of the inquiry was the starting point and the only thing in doubt was how he would go about the tactical mission of declaring his Labour Party antisemitism free. In that sense the Chakrabarti Report is a perfect metaphor for the whole sordid affair, the very first line of the report was the starting point of the inquiry;
The Labour Party is not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism.”
The thing is though, a party that really is institutionally antisemitic would say that wouldn’t it? This was why an independent inquiry was so necessary…and also why it wasn’t forthcoming.